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10/05/2015 – Ephemeris – The loneliest star

October 5, 2015

Ephemeris for Monday, October 5th.  The Sun will rise at 7:45.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 31 minutes, setting at 7:16.   The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:38 tomorrow morning.

There’s a bright and lonely star that appears low in the south for only seven and a half hours a night on autumn evenings.  It’s appearance is a sign as sure as the falling leaves that autumn is here  At 10 p.m. tonight it’s low in the south-southeast.  The star’s name is Fomalhaut, which means fish’s mouth.  This is appropriate because it’s in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish.  At our latitude it’s the fish that got away, because Fomalhaut appears to be quite alone.  The dimness of the constellation’s other stars and location close to the horizon make the fainter stars hard to spot.  The earth’s thick atmosphere near the horizon reduces the stars brightness by a factor of two or more, so Fomalhaut appears to keep a lonely vigil in the south.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.



Fomalhaut appears quite alone in the south-southeast at about 10 p.m. Created using Stellarium.

Actually Fomalhaut isn’t all that alone,  It apparently has a companion planet.

Fomalhaut b

Fomalhaut b and it’s path around its star. Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Kalas (University of California, Berkeley and SETI Institute)

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